Identifying and Establishing Personal Boundaries
TO SET BOUNDARIES, SAY:
- what we’ll do if people don’t stop treating us a particular way;
- what people can or can’t do to or around us—in our space;
- how far we’ll go for someone;
- how far other people can go with us;
- what we will and won’t tolerate;
- “yes” when we mean it;
- “no” when that’s our answer;
- “maybe” when we’re unsure;
- what we will or won’t do if people don’t respect the boundaries we set.
Boundaries come from speaking our truth.
- honest communication,
- saying the hard stuff,
- aligning with or stepping into our power.
Limits can make or break relationships. They aren’t only about how people treat us: boundaries are about how we treat them.”
- limits we set because someone told us to;
- empty, angry threats;
- power plays to control someone;
- limits we don’t or can’t enforce
Is it a Boundary or Controlling?
Boundaries concern our behaviors. We don’t set them to control or interfere with people’s free will—unless someone is harming us. Boundaries may involve consequences. We say, “If you do this, I’ll do that.” Boundaries give people choices. They can do as they please, but we can, too.
It’s not a boundary if we can’t enforce it.
Be clear. If people have room to misinterpret, they will. People hear what they want to and what causes the least pain. We won’t be clear with others if we’re not clear with ourselves. Sometimes we don’t like their behavior, but we don’t want to lose the relationship, so our boundaries are murky. We can’t have it both ways; it’s either a boundary or it’s not.
Expect people to test our boundaries. The more they stand to lose, the harder they’ll push. They often won’t stop pushing until they know we mean what we say.
AFTER SETTING BOUNDARIES, PLAN ON:
- being tested to see if we’re serious, especially if previous boundaries were empty threats.
- feeling “after burn” (guilty) for saying what people don’t want to hear.
- needing to be creative to enforce some limits.
- some boundaries taking enormous amounts of energy to enforce.
- people being persistent if they’re obsessive, dependent, or spoiled.
- losing some relationships when people can’t use us anymore.
- people trying to guilt us into changing our mind.
- people becoming angry when they realize the boundary is real.
- people lying or behaving desperately to get us to back down.
- some boundaries hurting us (to set) as much as they hurt the other person.
Excerpt From: Melody Beattie. “The New Codependency.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/muuVw.l